WHO ARE THE HMONG?

The Hmong were known to be the very first people to occupy the fertile Yellow River basin, before the Chinese arrived into the area (Quincy, 13). The Chinese made war with the Hmong and managed to drive them south into the regions Hupeh and Hunan. After many years, in the fourth century, the Hmong had made their own independent kingdom. The Hmong then were scattered out around China when the kingdom fell in the tenth century. After they resettled in the mountains of Kweichow, Szechwan, and Yunnan, they were forced to fight again when the Manchu dynasty waged war of total extermination upon them. 

The anger toward the Hmong by the Chinese was that, the Hmong were unwilling to change their culture and forget all about shamanism. Only a few followed into the Chinese ways, but the majority stayed the same, following the religion that their ancestors had followed for hundreds of years before.

The never-ending persecution forced the Hmong to be perpetual migrants. This large killing of the Hmong extended southward in the other areas occupied by Hmong and forced thousands of Hmong to move out of China and into North Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Burma in order to live a life of peace .

The Hmong are an ethnic group of people with specific language and culture. The Hmong originally came from China with over 4,000 years of history. Some Hmong left China to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Burma beginning in the early 1800’s as a result of land expansion by the Chinese government.

The Hmong people are considered a stateless nation because the Hmong could never be established by a higher government. The government pushed the Hmong people away, so there was no chance of being established in China or the United States. Because the U.S. already has established States inside of their nation

In the late 1960s, when the Vietnam War spread into Laos, the United States recruited the Hmong to fight against communism. Wanting to hold on to their land and the independence they had maintained for thousands of years, the Hmong saw communism as a threat to their autonomy.

Most Hmong Americans are those that immigrated to the United States as refugees in the late 1970s, and their descendants. Some refugees fled Laos due to their cooperation (or perceived cooperation) with the United States‘ Central Intelligence Agency operatives in northern Laos during the Vietnam War.

The Hmong religion is traditionally animist (animism is the belief in the spirit world and in the interconnectedness of all living things). At the center of Hmong culture is the Txiv Neeb, the shaman (literally, “father/master of spirits”). According to Hmong cosmology, the human body is the host for a number of souls.

What are some important aspects of Hmong culture? Some important aspects of Hmong culture are respectfulness, politeness, the pride that lacks arrogance, and lack of jealous of the outsiders . These important aspects have made the Hmong community survive under pressure of more powerful nations for many years. Hmong language had no written form until the 1950s, and without a written form it has been difficult to catalog the Hmong culture.

Hmong-Mien languages, also called Miao-Yao languages, family of languages spoken in southern China, northern Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.

H’mong people are an important member in the community of ethnic minorities in Vietnam with about one million people, ranked 8th among 54 Vietnamese ethnics. They often occupy the upland areas, from 800-1500m above the sea level, mostly in the Northwest and a few in the central highland of Vietnam. You can easily spot them in Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Sa Pa, Lai Chau, Son La and several other provinces.

The best time to visit the Hmong in Vietnam is during the Lunar New Year in late January or early February, when they would celebrate the 3 day Tet festival. During the festival, they often cheerfully blow “khèn” (their special woodwind instrument), play swings and other traditional games and sing in the large yard around the village.

H’mong people believe that they have a common ancestor so they greatly value unity in their community. Several families gather into a cluster and has a leader responsible for common works. As for costumes, H’mong people usually wear their self-woven clothes made by linen, decorated with unique technique to express their strong ethnic characteristics. They drink corn, rice wine, smoking cigarettes using plow. Meanwhile, if you are a guest who is invited a self-loaded plow by a H’mong, you should take it as a friendly fondness.

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